The River War - An Account Of The Reconquest Of The Sudan By Winston S. Churchill

 -  But as soon as he was convinced that the gunboats were
unsupported he moved several of the landward guns into - Page 270
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But As Soon As He Was Convinced That The Gunboats Were Unsupported He Moved Several Of The Landward Guns Into The River Forts, And Even Built Two New Works, So That On The 17th The Dervishes Brought Into Action Eleven Guns, Firing From Eight Small Round Forts.

The gunboats, however, contented themselves with keeping at a range at which their superior weapons enabled them to strike without being struck, and so, while inflicting heavy loss on their enemies, sustained no injury themselves.

After four hours' methodical and remorseless bombardment Commander Keppel considered the reconnaissance complete, and gave the order to retire down stream. The Dervish gunners, elated in spite of their losses by the spectacle of the retreating vessels, redoubled their fire, and continued hurling shell after shell in defiance down the river until their adversaries were far beyond their range. As the gunboats floated northward their officers, looking back towards Metemma, saw an even stranger scene than the impotent but exulting forts. During the morning a few flags and figures had been distinguished moving about the low range of sandhills near the town; and as soon as the retirement of the flotilla began, the whole of the Dervish army, at least 10,000 men, both horse and foot, and formed in an array more than a mile in length, marched triumphantly into view, singing, shouting, and waving their banners amid a great cloud of dust. It was their only victory.

The loss on the gunboats was limited to the single Soudanese soldier, who died of his wounds, and a few trifling damages.

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